BMW India has introduced the all-new X3M performance SUV in India at a price of Rs 99.9 lakh, ex-showroom.
The company has leveraged the government’s new import norms which allow up to 2,500 units of CBU or CKD cars to be imported and sold in the country without having to undergo homologation. With this, BMW India has attempted to expand its portfolio of niche, performance-oriented models amid rising competition from arch rivals – Audi and Mercedes-Benz – which offer a host of such cars under their RS and AMG brands, respectively.
The new BMW X3 M is powered by a six-cylinder in-line 3.0-litre twin-power turbo petrol engine, churning 480bhp and 600Nm, with a claimed 0-100kph dash in 4.2 seconds and a limited top-speed of 250kph. The engine comes mated to an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic and deploying BMW’s new M xDrive all-wheel drive system. The system has rear-wheel bias and offers four driving modes for optimised performance.
BMW says that the centrally-controlled interaction between M xDrive and the Active M Differential at the rear axle allows the all-wheel drive system to split the engine’s power between the four wheels as and when required to deliver optimum traction, agility and directional stability.
The SUV also comes equipped with M-specific suspension with its double-joint spring strut front axle and five-link rear axle, along with variable-ratio servotronic M-specific steering and more powerful M-compound brakes.
On the outside while the SUV looks identical in silhouette and design to the regular X3, it gets highlights in the form of double black bars on the BMW kidney grille upfront. Also, the signature ‘M’ gills are integrated into the air breathers on the front flanks while the ORVMs get a unique design to reduce air drag. The wheels are lightweight 20-inch alloys.
The BMW X3 M continues to offer a sense of luxury and space on the inside with Vernasca leather upholstery, ambient lighting, M-specific instrument cluster and a restyled ‘M’ gear selector lever. There is also a large panoramic sunroof to aid the sense of space and convenience of splitting the rear bench into 40:20:40 to enhance boot capacity to up to 1,600 litres. The X3 M comes equipped with a 12.3-inch multifunction touch display, iDrive touch controller and BMW Gesture Control along with BMW Virtual Assistant with telephony and wireless charging.
In terms of safety, the SUV comes packed to the brim with safety features such as front, side and head airbags, dynamic stability control, cornering brake control and adaptive cruise control. The standard safety net also includes adaptive LED headlights, high-beam assistant, parking assistant and head-up display.
BMW India registered sales of 9,000 units in calendar 2019 with a 13.5 percent de-growth. More recently, the carmaker reported sales of 2,365 vehicles in Q1 of 2020 – the January to March period and closed the gap with market leader Mercedes-Benz India which stood just 21 units ahead at old 2,386 cars.
With Mercedes-Benz witnessing a 54 percent year-on-year uptick in sales of its AMG models in 2019 and already switching over to local assembly of its AMG GLC 43 to offer the SUV at a 20 percent lower price tag compared to CBU import, will BMW India also work out a similar strategy to attract more buyers towards the ‘M’ brand? We will keep a tab on further developments.